What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Joe Paterno has spent a lot of the last decade being hassled by officials and listening to a lot of “old” jokes. We all know every referee in the conference has had it out for JoePa ever since he was hanging effigies of them on the front door of his house (don’t think every PSU fan in the world doesn’t know what a conspiracy Lloyd Carr’s “Magic :02” was in 2005). We all know the coach has a way of speaking that can be a bit too direct; in that way only old guys seem to get away with. We all know people have been harping about his age for the last fifteen years, despite the fact he has an undefeated season, two conference titles, and nine upper-tier (Alamo Bowl or better) bowl appearances in that time.
Well, for the first time in years, a team has a legitmate shot at consecutive Big Eleven Ten titles and the BCS Championship game, and Joe Paterno wants you to know who it is.
That’s right, bitches…It ain’t Ohio State. The Nittany Lions open the season ranked #8 and things only get better from there. A depleted Buckeye team is the only real competition Penn State should face for the conference title, and they are due for an early-season evisceration courtesy of USC. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions get to sink their fangs into the milk-fed veal of Akron, Syracuse, and Temple. That’s not the only schedule advantage Penn State enjoys. The Nittany Lions only play four road games; the toughest being Michigan State. Their toughest game overall will be when The Ohio State Penitentiary University comes to Happy Valley. As for the rest of the campaign, it really starts to show that the Big Eleven Ten has really become Big Two, Medium Five, and Small Four.
With two MAC teams, an FCS team, and what may the worst BCS conference team not currently in Indiana, Penn State has a non-conference schedule softer than cream cheese left out in the sun. In other words, things certainly look favorable for the Nittany Lions to notch their third conference title in five years.
September 5 – Akron
Akron is a team with some high hopes in 2009. This is the year the Zips open a new on-campus 30,000 seat stadium (which is just a shade under 30% of the crowd they will play in front of at Beaver Stadium), and they are expected to challenge for the MAC East division title. Some prognosticators envision this team winning as many as eight games, but this won’t be one of them.
September 12 – Syracuse
The salad days of Dwight Freeney, Marvin Harrison, and Donovan McNabb are long gone. Now, this is a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2001 and is now pinning its hopes on a former Duke point guard as a quarterback; a quarterback that hasn’t taken a snap since 2004. If that weren’t enough and the athletic director is now rewarding fans for they loyalty they showed during the darkness of the Greg Robinson era by finally scheduling some teams they might actually want to see – if they live in East Rutherford, N.J. What do you think is going to happen?
September 19 – Temple
Temple, the second MAC representative to face the Nittany Lion buzzsaw, will likely become the first one to lose to a Joe Paterno-led team 25 times. This will put the in-state rival from Philadelphia in sole possession of this distinction; breaking the tie with West Virginia they achieved with the 45-3 drubbing they took last year. Temple shouldn’t expect much in the way of “Brotherly Love” in Happy Valley, considering they have an all-time tally of 3-34-1 against Penn State, and they have been outscored by the Nittany Lions 124-3 in their last three tilts.
September 26 – Iowa
The annual Rolaids Bowl…How does this game get such a distinction? Because fucking Iowa always finds a fucking way to win this fucking game. Last year’s miracle field goal at Kinnick Stadium not withstanding, Iowa just seems to have Penn State’s number, to the tune of having a 6-1 record against the Nittany Lions in this decade. Couple that with the fact that Penn State is 7-9 in Big Eleven Ten openers, and are only 3-3 in conference openers at Happy Valley and you see why the PSU faithful may need to keep the antacids handy.
However, there are two upsides here are 1) this is a revenge game for Penn State, as that field goal last year arguably cost the Nittany Lions a shot at the BCS Championship Game and 2) at least it is early in the year, so even if the boys in blue drop this one, there is still time to rebound before the BCS polls start being published.
October 3 – @ Illinois
Illinois represents the first time Penn State travels in 2009. Even though the combination of quarterback Juice Williams and head coach Ron “I never met a Coke machine I couldn’t head-butt” Zook have somehow elevated Illinois into the Medium Five, the Illini during this time have been the definition of mercurial. They surprise the world with a trip to the Rose Bowl in 2007, then fail to become bowl-eligible the following season. So, which Illini team shows up? It matters little, as even with wide receiver Arrelious Benn, they just don’t have enough weapons not to be over-matched by the Nittany Lions.
“Are You Kidding Me, Really?” If Juice Williams starts six games in 2009, he becomes Illnois’ all-time starts leader for a quarterback. And if he amasses 4,238 total yards in 2009, Williams would pass Purdue’s Drew Brees mark as the Big Eleven Ten’s career total offense leader.
October 10 – Eastern Illinois
As the lone member of the FCS on the schedule, Eastern Illinois will travel to State College, take their beating, and head back to Charleston, IL with a nice check made out to the athletic department in tow. And lest we forget, EIU will always be known as the alma mater of the man with the single greatest name in the history of college football.
October 17 – Minnesota
Minnesota is a team on the rise; the third season for head coach Tim Brewster and the first in a brand new home for the Gophers. Minnesota is poised to make a bit of noise in the Big Eleven Ten largely as they seem to be the team looking to inherit Purdue’s traditional spot in the Motor City Bowl. They could find a way to eek out the six needed wins against FBS teams, but pulling off a miracle against Penn State seems as unlikely as Dan Nystrom is long gone.
October 24 – @ Michigan
The Streak That Starts Now: The Nittany Lions’ victory last October was the first over Michigan in a dozen years. Of course, this is even a sorer spot given Penn State won the 2005 contest in Ann Arbor, but a conspiracy between Lloyd Carr and Big Eleven Ten referees gave the Wolverines a magically-appearing :02 in which they pulled a miracle last-play touchdown pass, giving Penn State its only loss. PSU has an all-time record of 4-10 against the Wolverines; their worst against any Big Eleven Ten team.
With Coach Forehead already announcing that he will use three quarterbacks in the opener, it is pretty safe to assume the Wolverine’s offensive bite will be as toothless as ever. Beating these d-bags is always sweet; doing in consecutive years would be a sheer blast of joy from a nuclear-powered orgasm-a-tron.
October 31 @ Northwestern
God, I hate going to Evanston. Even though the boys in blue are 9-3 all-time against the Wildcats, two of Penn State’s three losses in the series have come in Evanston. It’s the second of consecutive road games. Not to mention it takes place on Halloween. Granted, those losses came in the darker days of the earlier part of this decade, but head coach Pat Fitzgerald has Northwestern playing at a 19-18 clip in the last three seasons.
Northwestern has improved to the point where they are no longer everybody’s homecoming patsy. Penn State just has too many weapons for the Wildcats, but this has all the hallmarks of being this year’s Iowa, the road loss that makes blood squirt out of my ears and bile spew from everywhere else.
But that’s not gonna happen.
November 7 – Ohio State
November 21 – @ Michigan State
Picture it…State College, in a closet somewhere deep in the recesses of Beaver Stadium sits the Land Grant Trophy. It has been there for exactly one year, draped in a towel with that amount of dust on it. It’s two days before this game, and nobody can remember where they left the damn thing…it won’t matter, because they won’t need it. Even though this game has a shot to mean the conference title, and even though it is in East Lansing. Penn State has in past years had this trophy locked up tight, and this year will be no exception. The reason is simple: the Spartans are always out of gas when they get to this game…and this year will be no exception.